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Cognac Brand Champion 2022: Hennessy

Hennessy Cognac collects the Brand Champion accolade this year, after growing sales by more 9.2%

A small but mighty pack of three Cognac brands comprise the million-case-selling segment of the category.

The trio is usually joined by Rémy Martin, which you will notice is missing from this year’s compilation, as parent company Rémy Cointreau has made the board-level decision to no longer publicly declare its volume.

In 2021, Cognac sales grew by 16.2% to 223.2m bottles, according to the Bureau National Interprofessionnel du Cognac. By value, sales of Cognac jumped by almost a third to €3.6 billion (US$4.1bn) in 2021.

As the Cognac Brand Champions table demonstrates, 2021 was a fantastic year for the three million-case sellers. LVMH-owned Hennessy collects the Cognac Brand Champion accolade this year, after growing sales by more than 600,000 cases last year (up by 9.2%). The brand was picked due to its impressive rebound after a slight dip in 2020, meaning its 2021 volume sales significantly surpassed its 2019 pre-pandemic levels.

Hennessy Cognac got off to a strong start in 2021, reporting a 28% spike in volume sales during the first three months of the year compared with 2020. As the year progressed, the brand went from strength to strength.

Hennessy Cognac’s strategy is evidently connecting with consumers. In November 2021, the brand launched a video campaign encouraging consumers to take a seat and share stories. Called ‘More is Made by the Many’, the video campaign aimed to celebrate uniting people from different walks of life. The clip featured a table with various groups, divided into the host’s table, the musicians’ table, the artists’ table and the voguers’ table – with everyone gathered around a bottle of Hennessy VSOP.

It followed on from another brand campaign launched earlier in 2021, when Hennessy enlisted the celebrity status of American basketball player Russell Westbrook. The creative push, part of the ‘Make Moves That Start Movements’ campaign, featured Westbrook, artist Victor Solomon, and Alex Taylor, founder of female basketball community group Hoop York City. The collaboration enabled Hennessy to extend its Unfinished Business platform, an initiative that helps Black, Asian and Latinx small business owners that have been affected by the pandemic.

Elsewhere in the million-case Cognac contingent, the comeback staged by Pernod Ricard-owned Martell in 2021 was also impressive. The brand had a particularly challenging 2020, when its sales tumbled by 26.6% to 1.9m cases. Thankfully, 2021 was a turning point for the brand, which soared by more than a third (37.4%) in 2021 to marginally beat its 2019 volume.

Beam Suntory’s Courvoisier, the 2021 Cognac Brand Champion, delivered a respectable 7.9% volume increase in 2021 after several years of stagnant sales, compounded by the Covid-19 pandemic.

Figures: million 9l-case sales
Brand Owner 2017 2018 2019 2020 2021 %+/-
Hennessy LVMH 7.6 7.8 8.0 7.8 8.6 9.2%
Martell Pernod Ricard 2.3 2.6 2.6 1.9 2.6 37.4%
Courvoisier Beam Suntory 1.3 1.4 1.4 1.4 1.5 7.9%

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